5 Careers off the Beaten Path

So you just graduated but are still unsure what you want to do with your life.

Well, Singapore has plenty of interesting jobs that fly below the radar; listed in the following sections are five such hidden gems to consider!

1. Court Stenographer

A court stenographer (a.k.a. court reporter), records what is said during official legal proceedings, which include hearings, trials, and other legal and legislative meetings.

Court stenographer records are a word-for-word account of all the spoken words that take place in an official legal setting. These are used as references by judges, lawyers, defendants, and juries when they need to review what was said during a trial, hearing, or legal meeting.


A court stenographer’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Capturing all spoken words during a legal hearing.
  • Recording everything that is said in a legal hearing using a computerized machine (stenotype).
  • Correcting any grammatical mistakes.
  • Editing the written text of what was said.


Stenographers need to possess the following:

  • Shorthand speed of at least 180 words per minute.
  • Proficiency in using a stenotype machine.
  • A stenotype machine.
  • Proficiency in English and/or the official language of the country where the legal proceedings take place.
  • Understanding of basic legal principles and medical terms.
  • Understanding of legal and business practices and ethics.


The best way to stand out from other stenographer candidates is to show more proficiency than them. One of the ways to do this is to take the relevant courses and acquire the needed qualifications for the job.

Here are some of the programs that many universities and community colleges around the globe offer for court stenographers:

  • Judicial Ethics
  • Business Ethics
  • Keyboarding/Typing
  • Machine/Computer Technology
  • Legal/Medical Terminology


The average salary for a court stenographer in Singapore is supposedly $94,603 (SGD) per year, which equates to around a little under $46 per hour.

Besides offering a really good salary and a new experience with every new trial or hearing, this career also offers job security—to date, technologies like A.I., digital recording devices, and voice recognition software cannot match the accuracy and legal understanding of a qualified stenographer.

There are two caveats, however; firstly, it may be hard to find a job in another industry if you decide to leave the profession as the skillset you’ve acquired is very niche. You must also find a company willing to provide in-house training, or pursue stenography studies yourself abroad or online.  This is because Singapore does not offer dedicated courses for this profession at the moment.

2. Arborist

Arborists are trained in the science of taking care of trees. They specialize in tree care and the special and individual needs of trees through maintenance, tree health care, and in emergency cases, tree removal.


Arborists are responsible for providing the following services:

  • Planting Trees
  • Removing Trees
  • Pruning Trees
  • Tree Health Care
  • Tree Emergency Care


A certified arborist will have the following skills:

  • Overall knowledge of landscaping.
  • Ability to test and assess different types of soil.
  • Working knowledge of planting trees
  • Knowing how to treat tree diseases.
  • Trimming and pruning of trees.
  • Working knowledge and ability to apply tree fertilizer.
  • Working knowledge and ability to apply different kinds of pesticides.
  • Removing dead, diseased, and unwanted trees.


Arborists require education, certification, and experience to be considered for a job.

Singapore offers an ISA Certified Arborist Programme that goes well with college courses pertaining to arboriculture.

Other helpful qualifications and courses that complement certification include the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology
  • Bachelor’s degree in Botany.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture.
  • Physical fitness and stamina (job demands heavy lifting at times).


The average arborist salary in Singapore is $38,154 (SGD) per year, which equates to an hourly rate of $18.34 (SGD) per hour.

Entry-level salaries for new arborists range around $29,262 (SGD) per year.

If you like working outdoors and in nature then following this career path could be an excellent choice for you.

However, make sure you get the proper knowledge about tree anatomy and tree and soil biology through the certifications and courses listed above, as well as have the necessary strength to move, climb, and cut tree limbs or you may not be considered for the job.

3. Technical Writer

Technical writers create technical and instructional manuals and documents for the layperson. They are experts at taking technical and complicated concepts and putting them into easy terms non-experts can understand.

Tech writers perform their research and create their manuals using print, audio/visual, and electronic media.


Generally, a technical writer will be responsible for performing the following duties:

  • Researching and determining the needs of readers and the uses of a specific technical document to meet those needs.
  • Studying products and consulting with product designers about specific uses and setups.
  • Creating instructions that are easy to follow.
  • Manual proofreading, editing, and revision of written manuals and software documents.
  • Choosing visual media to make instructions clearer (illustrations, graphs, photographs).
  • Selecting specific forms of media for a manual or document (print or video).
  • Collecting user feedback to improve and revise manuals.


The most important skill a tech writer needs to possess is the ability to write. Specifically, the ability to write complicated ideas in easy-to-understand words.

Instructional manuals and software documents need to be written with clear text and simple explanations.

Other skills a technical writer must include the following:

  • Working with tech writing tools like Microsoft Word, PDF Documents, and CHM.
  • Research skills.
  • Systematic thinking.
  • Ability to work well with other departments (teamwork skills).
  • Ability to create multiple documents from a single source (Single-Sourcing).
  • Knowing the basic concepts of sociology.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Understanding the basics of web design.


Most companies interested in hiring technical writers will demand at least a bachelor’s degree in the following fields:

  • English
  • Journalism
  • Communication
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science

In addition to the above degrees, candidates should also take special training courses in technical writing to help them stand out from the rest of the applicants.

If you are considering becoming a tech writer, there are offers technical writing courses offered here locally.


The average monthly salary of a technical writer in Singapore is $7,060 (SGD), which equates to an annual salary of $84,720 (SGD). In Singapore, it usually takes around five to six years to cap out at the maxim salary of over $10,000 (SGD) per month.

Technical writing is a good career path to choose if you enjoy writing, are a good communicator, and can transform technical concepts into simple, easy-to-understand text.

4. Headhunter

The main responsibility of a headhunter (a.k.a. recruiter), is to find talent for employers.

Headhunters are hired by firms to recruit employees who most closely fit the employer’s specifications for an ideal job applicant. They often have a candidate pool from which to choose from, but can also seek out individual candidates if their pool has dried up or does not meet the specific requirements employers are looking for.


The typical headhunter position will include the following responsibilities and duties:

  • Defining employer requirements and specifications for a particular job.
  • Researching data pool for candidates who meet employer specifications.
  • Searching other databases and job portfolio sites for eligible candidates.
  • Frequenting job fairs to find new candidates.
  • Posting ads on job sites and/or on social media.
  • Reaching out to candidates and sending them job offers.
  • Maintaining a candidate database.
  • Preparing candidates for job interviews.
  • Obtaining referrals from industry professionals.


Even though there are two different types of recruitersinternal (works for one specific company) and external (independent contractors or agency headhunters)—= you must possess the following skills to be considered for either:

  • Attention to detail.
  • Ability to listen.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Basic marketing and advertising skills.
  • Relationship-building skills.
  • Time-management skills.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • A basic understanding of IT (becoming more and more commonplace).
  • Having a target-driven mindset (ability to reach employer hiring goals).


To be considered for either position you need to have the following qualifications.

  • Bachelor’s degree in a specific field (Human Resources, Psychology, Sociology, Communications, Business Administration).
  • Knowledge of employment laws in the country you work in.
  • Work experience in sales, administration, research, or customer support (this helps a great deal in getting hired).
  • Various recruiter certifications.

There is a Certified Human Resource Specialist (CHRS) training program you can take if you are planning to begin a headhunting career in Singapore. It is a good addition to the degrees mentioned above and will give you an advantage over other candidates vying for the same position.


Headhunters in Singapore usually make around $8,630 (SGD) per month, which is approximately $103,560 (SGD) per year. On average, recruiters can expect to double their salary after gaining 10 years of experience or more in the field.

You should look into a headhunter position if you are a people person, as you will be meeting new people almost daily and working consistently on a personal basis with clients and candidates to create a perfect match for both.

5. Food Scientist

The role of a food scientist is to study the physical, chemical, and biological properties of food and ensure that they are safe for consumption.

As rare as this position may sound, Singapore has many positions for food scientists at the moment. LinkedIn currently lists over 400 job openings in Singapore related to food scientists!


The specific duties of a food scientist are as follows:

  • Conduct research and experiments on food crops, farm animals, and soil.
  • Create new food products.
  • Improve food processing, packaging, and delivering processes.
  • Communicate and publish research findings with food producers and public consumers.
  • Monitor new projects.
  • Make sure that all processes related to food distribution among the public are up to par with safety and health guidelines.


To become a qualified food scientist, you need to have or develop the following skills and abilities:

  • Working knowledge of analytical methods.
  • Working knowledge of analytical instruments.
  • A deep understanding of food microbiology and food chemistry.
  • Good communication, observation, decision-making, and analytical skills.
  • The ability to use mathematical and scientific methods to address and solve problems.


These are the qualifications and certifications you will need to become a food scientist.

  • A bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Microbiology, Chemistry, or other related fields.
  • Master’s of Science or Ph.D. in Food Science (if working in a government or university laboratory setting).
  • Certification programs through universities and government agencies (helps in advancing career).

It should be noted that this field requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for consideration. The good news, however, is that many Singapore universities and institutes offer various programmes related to food science that give those looking to pursue a career in this field the qualifications they need to get hired.


The average food scientist salary in Singapore is  $66,868 (SGD) per year, which equals $5,572 (SGD) per month.

You can expect an increase in your base salary as a food scientist in Singapore after 15 months on the job.

Since the job requires a constant need for researching and developing new food products and processes, it is highly unlikely you will ever get bored of your duties. What is more, people will always need food to live, so job security is pretty much assured with this position.


You don’t have to be stuck with a boring career for the rest of your life. Singapore offers many off-the-beaten path careers that are both interesting and pay well, which means you will be rewarded to do something you love—a real win-win situation!

If you are not interested in any of the careers listed above, don’t give up and continue your search until you find a job that will stimulate your creativity, offer long-term job security, and fill your bank account to a level you are happy with.


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